Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Small Rant: The Return

A case in point for my previous blog. Feel free to vomit or smash something in rage.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Small Rant

Is it me or is it completely inexcusable for the celebrities selling their baby pictures to gossip magazines? I personally would hate to find out that my parents used my pictures to make a couple of more millions. You can say that the money could be used for the kids' future, but come on...we're talking about people who have a few million stacked somewhere that they don't deserve. Their kids won't grow up to need that money. I think it is a travesty and it should be abolished altogether.


P.S. While we're at it, why don't we get rid of Nancy Grace too?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Little Bit of Everything

There were three things that caught my attention in the last two days and I would like to share them with you:

1- Last night Boston Celtics snapped the 22-game winning streak (second longest in the NBA history) of Houston Rockets with a defensive display we have come to expect from Pierce and co. As a Celtics fan, I was jubilant and wanted to hug the imaginary person watching the game with me late last night. However, the more interesting news came after the game. As usual, the sideline reporter pulled aside a player from the winning team for a live interview. The TNT reporter picked the inimitable Kevin Garnett. After asking him tired old questions about how well Celtics played and Garnett's equally tired old replies, the reporter asked the player about his former employer's (Timberwolves I can't remember) comments that Garnett "tanked" at the end of last season. Garnett, first smiled, then said that he is Boston player now and that's all he cares about. Then he dropped the bomb: "I don't know why you bring this up right now". Thank you, Kevin, because seeing the reporter understanding that he has screwed up and making him eat his words on national TV was priceless. Who cares what the Timberwolves owner said? What is important is that Celtics managed to stop the streak and Garnett just wants to celebrate it. Do you have to bring that up? What were you expecting Garnett to say? "Fuck him" on national TV? Kevin Garnett proved himself that not only he is one of the best forwards the league has ever seen, but also one of the smartest.

2- This morning I caught the last minute of an interview with Dick Cheney (I think it was on GMA, but it could have been on CNN...doesn't matter). The chyron read that Cheney thought the war on Iraq was a success. No news there. Just then the interviewer mentioned the opinion polls and said that a certain proportion of the population (again I can't remember the exact number, but it was a rather sizable one) believes that it's not worth fighting there. What followed was unbelievable and I had to verify with my girlfriend if I heard him right. This is what Cheney said verbatim: "So what?". Insert your comments here...

3- Remember last year when the news that two of cinema's greatest masters died within a week of each other and how empty we all felt and ordered their back catalogues from Netflix? For the philistines out there I'm talking about Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. This year, sad news from the same front came hours apart. Anthony Minghella and Arthur C. Clarke passed away yesterday. You can argue back and forth about Minghella's position in cinema history with respect to those of Bergman or Anotnioni, but the point is the film industry lost one of its most consistent and intelligent filmmakers. As for Clarke, he was the last great science fiction author. I can't wait to re-visit 2001: A Space Odyssey and Minghella's "trio": The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Cold Mountain again.


Friday, March 14, 2008

I Smell Magic Dollars

Read this and weep. Just when I thought we were done with the magical soap opera, we will have to endure the thing twice over...again...Are we trying to make J.k Rowling richer than Oprah?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peter Bradshaw on Zombie Flicks

It's not a "Peter-Bradshaw-One-Star-Review", but it is up there with some of his better ones. Here is what he thought about George A. Romero's new zombie outing, Diary of the Dead (2008). I didn't really want to see it before the review, now I'm a little curious. I think it's time to stop making zombie flicks, just like we stopped making romantic comedies starring Hugh Grant.

Also, am I the only person who thinks Romero is one of the most overrated directors ever? I mean, just because his films have obvious political undertones doesn't mean he is a 'genius'. He single-handedly glorified and exploited a genre, that's all. Anyhoo, it's probably the only thing remotely worth watching in theaters right now.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Best of the 21st Century

It seems I have a knack for lists that are bound to change after I make them. The following is no exception. Inspired by a list that I frequently visit, I present you my favorite films from our very young century. Although technically speaking there is an ambiguity as to whether the year 2000 was the beginning of the century or not, but that should be a topic to be discussed perhaps later on these very pages. For simplicity's sake, the films that have been released in the 'noughties' are included here. And, as always, this list could change at any moment without due notice...

My Favorite Films of the 21st Century:

1- MULHOLLAND DR. (David Lynch, 2001): I don't think many people would argue with this one. It is the mind-fuck that can only come from the genius mind of David Lynch. I can never forget my experience of watching this in an old, large, and empty theater in Buenos myself. Definitely the most frightening movie-going experience of my life.

2- NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2007): I stand by what I said before, this is the best movie of the last few years and the only reason why it doesn't hold the top spot is because the Coens' film is an excellence in convention despite some of the unconventional decisions they've made.

3- TALK TO HER (Pedro Almodovar, 2002): Viva Pedro! This is the film where the auteur really asserts himself and comes up with a mature film that is brimming with originality and energy - an energy that should come from a young director that has something to say to the wide world.

4- ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (Michel Gondry, 2004): Charlie Kaufman was the JJ Abrams of screenwriting (great premise and start, but gets bored and abandons the thing towards the end) until this oddity. Science fiction? Romantic comedy? Drama? Horror? All?

5- THE FOUNTAIN (Darren Aronofsky, 2006): A flop it might have been on various fronts, but the feeling it leaves me with every time I see it is the closest to a sweet melancholy than any film I can think of recently. And despite what Dr. Cox thinks, Hugh Jackman is amazing here.

6- CHILDREN OF MEN (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006): A captivating story? Check. Convincing performances? Check. Brilliant cinematography? Check. Music? Check. Cuts that last 15 minutes through mind-boggling action set-pieces? Check. Check, check...It ticks all the boxes, it is almost ridiculous...

7- SPIRITED AWAY (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001): It doesn't matter how much Disney tries to ruin Miyazaki's masterpieces by adding excruciatingly annoying voice-overs, his amazing hand-drawn animation manages to escape the manacles of Hollywood. Oh, and the story should be taught at Screenwriting 101.

8- CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (Ang Lee, 2000): It was this wushu that made the genre famous in the mainstream - and deservedly so. By mixing ludicrously graceful martial arts and a western melodramatic storyline (add to that some of the most beautiful images ever captured on camera), Ang Lee, perhaps inadvertently, created his masterpiece.

9- THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (Andrew Dominik, 2007): It was Javier Bardem and his hair that swept the awards (deservedly so), but it was Casey Affleck's performance that was the star of 2007 (at least for me). His awkward mannerisms, pale complexion, and that childish voice makes him a lot more terrifying than Anton Chigurh. Add to that Roger Deakins' best work behind the camera and a great score by the inimitable Nick Cave, and you have a bona fide Western. Brad Pitt ain't bad, either.

10- THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007): The truth is, without Daniel Day-Lewis, the film is not that amazing, but his performance makes it an irresistible watch. Johnny Greenwood (criminally overlooked at all the awards) comes up with an unorthodox soundtrack that stayed with me for a long time. And, yes, you can't take your eyes off of Day-Lewis.

11- Code Unknown (Michael Haneke, 2000)
12- Pirates of the Caribbean : The Curse of the Black Pearl (Gore Verbinski, 2003)
13- The Hours (Stephen Daldry, 2003)
14- Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004)
15- Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)
16- Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
17- The Motorcycle Diaries (Walter Salles, 2004)
18- The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
19- In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
20- Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

Bubbling under:
- O Brother Where Art Thou? (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2000)
- Das Experiment (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2001)
- Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)